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Dream pop duo Beach House dropped their fourth studio length album this month on Sub Pop records – Bloom. It’s been two years since we last heard from Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally with Teen Dream. While Teen Dream was wildly successful and hailed as one of the best albums of 2012, Bloom was undoubtedly born out of the same vein.
Opening with “Myth”, you are instantly enveloped in the delicate melody and luminous guitar. This track introduces you to the theme of Bloom: lost love. Legrand’s lyrics are that of a pragmatist as she sings, “If you built yourself a myth/you’d know just what to give/what comes after this momentary bliss/the consequence of what you do to me.” Despite the sorrow that inspired the track, it is not overtly melancholy and leaves the listener in a unique state of contentment.
Each track tapers off just as gently as it came with layer upon layer of reverberated piano and hypnotic rhythms. No particular instrument seems to catch the ear as a solo but instead they all work harmoniously together. The album can be listened to almost as one big atmospheric and emotional journey or can be broken up by a few stand out tracks.
Those tracks are spread out through the body of the album to keep you hooked throughout and consistently curious of what is coming next. The fourth track, “Other People”, is an introspective journey exploring the demise of relationships – platonic or romantic – due to distance. “Other people want to keep in touch/something happens and it’s not enough/never thought it would mean so much,” Legrand words relate to anyone who has suffered a similar loss and experienced that same realization: the strength and importance of proximity.
As the album progresses, it is easy for listeners to remain blissfully unaware of the sadness that Legrand is revealing. Her soothing vocals combined with Scally’s guitarscapes hypnotize the listener into the dream pop paradise. Upon a second listen and a closer look at the lyrics, you’ll find that Bloom really is full of heartbreak.
Later in the album, there are some uplifting tones with “New Year”. Legrand writes about coming to terms with the loss: “Write it in a letter on the page/it’s your own way/you were getting wiser/it’s better this way”. Once the loss is accepted, she begins to question how many opportunities for great love we are given in life. “One in your life, it happens once and rarely twice,” she sings before concluding that the bizarre feeling that comes with the acceptance of a loss is a strange paradise in album-closer “Irene.”
Be sure to stay tuned to the end of “Irene” – a hidden track lies after about six minutes of silence.
Overall, Bloom is no disappointment for those who fell in love with Teen Dream. While Bloom may fail to garner many new listeners due to its lack of attention-grabbing tracks like “Norway” or “Zebra”, its hypnotic order makes it a noticeable album as a whole – something that’s difficult to pause between track one to ten. Take a listen and see what you think!